clearn.png
Friday November 26th, 2021 6:57PM

Venezuelans crossing into Colombia for coronavirus vaccines

By The Associated Press
Related Articles
  Contact Editor

VILLA DEL ROSARIO, Colombia. (AP) — Xiomara Ruiz woke up before dawn and boarded a bus with her son to make a one-hour trip to the bridge connecting Venezuela to Colombia, which they crossed on foot. Their goal: to get the 8-year-old vaccinated against the coronavirus.

By 7 a.m. the 27-year-old nurse and the boy were lining up at a vaccination center in Villa del Rosario, a Colombian town on the border with Venezuela.

About two dozen Venezuelans also stood in line for the shots, while an aid worker in a khaki vest yelled out instructions on a megaphone and told the crowd to keep a safe distance from each other as they waited for the vaccination center to open.

“In the town where I live there are still no vaccines for children,” said Ruiz, who traveled to Colombia from the border state of Tachira. She was concerned by a recent announcement by Venezuela’s government that children under 12 will be vaccinated with Soberana, a coronavirus vaccine developed in Cuba.

“That one is not approved by the World Health Organization,” Ruiz said. “It’s better to make the trip here.”

Hundreds of Venezuelans have been traveling to Colombia recently for coronavirus shots, as Venezuela struggles to get enough doses for its people.

These trips replicate previous efforts by Venezuelans to seek medical care abroad as their country’s health care system crumbled amid years of medicine shortages, economic recession and mismanagement of public hospitals. But travel restrictions and regulations associated with the pandemic have made it more challenging for Venezuelans to get vaccines in neighboring Colombia.

Colombian border states, which provided thousands of Venezuelan children with vaccines against tetanus, diphtheria and hepatitis for free before the pandemic, only started to provide coronavirus shots to Venezuelan travelers in October.

Now that the gates are open many are seizing the opportunity to get shots in Colombia, which has greater access to European and North American vaccines and only uses shots that have been approved by the WHO.

“Vaccine coverage is very low in Venezuela,” said Huniades Urbina, a pediatrician and spokesman for the Venezuelan Academy of Medicine. “So for many people, especially those living in border states, it's worth it to travel into Colombia to get their children vaccinated, instead of having to go several times to vaccination centers within Venezuela.”

In the Colombian state of North Santander, where the main border crossing is, more than 34,000 people registering at vaccination centers with Venezuelan ID cards have gotten coronavirus shots since Oct. 25, when vaccination for non-residents began, according to the state’s health department. That includes undocumented migrants living in North Santander as well as Venezuelans who traveled just to get the shots.

In the state capital of Cucuta, the number of vaccines applied daily has doubled to 9,000 since the end of October, said Astrid Urbina, the nurse leading the city’s immunization program.

Some Venezuelans who travel to Colombia in search of coronavirus vaccine said they were looking to get immunized with European or North American brands that are not available in Venezuela for several reasons that include lack of government permits, lack of infrastructure for vaccines that must be stored at ultra cold temperatures and sanctions imposed by the U.S. against companies that do business with Venezuela’s government. In June, however, the U.S. Treasury made exemptions for companies that sell vaccines and pandemic-related equipment to the Venezuelan government.

Eduardo Sánchez, a 22-year-old resident of the Venezuelan border town of San Antonio, crossed the international bridge that connects the countries Friday after hearing he could get a dose of the AstraZeneca vaccine on the Colombian side.

“In Venezuela we have been offered the Chinese vaccines, but I don’t trust them,” he said. “Here at least you can get AstraZeneca, which has greater recognition.”

Venezuela has fully vaccinated 32% of its population so far, according to data supplied by its government to the Pan-American Health Organization. The country of 28 million people has been able to import vaccines from China, Russia and most recently Cuba, but still has one of the lowest vaccination rates in South America.

On Oct. 21, Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Rodríguez announced that 12 million doses of Cuba’s Soberana vaccine would be imported and offered in schools to children ages 2 to 12.

Rodríguez said the move demonstrated President Nicolás Maduro’s “concern for the health and welfare” of the Venezuelan people and showcased the benefits of Cuba’s longtime alliance with Venezuela.

But medical associations in Venezuela have spoken out against the use of the Cuban vaccine on children, arguing it has not been widely tested or reviewed by scientists outside the island.

Colombian officials in North Santander said the number of Venezuelans travelling for vaccines has increased since Nov. 3, when vaccination for all children over age 3 opened in the state.

Antonio Niño, a driver from the Venezuelan town of Rubio, brought his 8-year old daughter, Nicole, to get her vaccinated.

“My wife and I preferred to come to Colombia,” he said. “They have vaccines here that have WHO approval, and that makes us feel more secure.”

  • Associated Categories: Associated Press (AP), AP Health, AP Health - Children's Health, AP World News, AP Business, AP Business - Economy, AP Business - Industries, AP Business - Health Care
© Copyright 2021 AccessWDUN.com
All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed without permission.
Good COP, bad COP? Takeaways from the new UN climate deal
After two years of preparation and 13 days of tough talks, did negotiators at the U.N. climate meeting in Glasgow save the planet
4:46PM ( 12 minutes ago )
Young, Williams, No. 3 Alabama romp over New Mexico St 59-3
Bryce Young passed for 270 yards and five touchdowns, including three to Jameson Williams, and No. 3 Alabama beat New Mexico State 59-3
4:28PM ( 29 minutes ago )
Venezuelans crossing into Colombia for coronavirus vaccines
Hundreds of Venezuelans have been traveling to Colombia recently for coronavirus shots, as Venezuela struggles to get enough doses for its people
4:27PM ( 30 minutes ago )
Associated Press (AP)
Russia’s COVID-19 deaths set daily record
Russia is reporting a new daily high number of COVID-19 deaths, while the total number of coronavirus infections in the country during the pandemic has topped 9 million
2:49PM ( 2 hours ago )
More turn to abortion pills by mail, with legality uncertain
COVID-19 and state abortion restrictions like a near-ban that took effect in Texas in September have people with unwanted pregnancies increasingly considering getting abortion pills by mail
12:35PM ( 4 hours ago )
Merkel calls on all to get shots to avoid bad virus winter
Chancellor Angela Merkel has called on all unvaccinated Germans to get their shots as quickly as possible as the country’s coronavirus infection rate hits the latest in a string of new highs
10:00AM ( 6 hours ago )
AP Health
Big Bird backlash: Vax lands even Muppet in political flap
In 1972, Big Bird lined up on `Sesame Street' to receive a measles vaccine as part of a campaign to get more youngsters inoculated against the disease
5:00PM ( 1 day ago )
'Strong' start to kids vaccine campaign, but challenges loom
The campaign to vaccinate elementary school age children in the U.S. is off to a strong start, health officials said Wednesday
4:56PM ( 3 days ago )
"Strong" start to kids vaccine campaign, but challenges loom
About 900,000 kids aged 5-11 will have received their first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine in their first week of eligibility, the White House said Wednesday
1:15PM ( 3 days ago )
AP Health - Children's Health
EXPLAINER: Why quitting coal is so hard
In the run-up to the U.N. climate talks in Glasgow, host Britain announced one of its goals of the conference was to consign coal to history
3:45PM ( 1 hour ago )
Sudanese rally against army tightening grip on power; 5 dead
Sudanese security forces have fired live ammunition and tear gas to disperse protesters denouncing the military’s tightening grip on the country, killing at least five and wounding several
2:13PM ( 2 hours ago )
Ecuador battle between prison gangs leaves at least 68 dead
A prolonged gun battle between rival gangs inside Ecuador’s largest prison has left at least 68 inmates dead in the latest violence to hit the Litoral Penitentiary, which recently saw the country’s worst prison bloodbath
2:09PM ( 2 hours ago )
AP World News
Rahal to field 2 sports cars in hybrid-based LMDh category
Bobby Rahal’s expansion in motorsports will continue in 2023 when BMW Team RLL will field two prototypes in the new LMDh hybrid-class of IMSA sports car racing
1:36PM ( 3 hours ago )
Prize-winning 1619 Project now coming out in book form
It began as a prize-winning magazine issue and became a cultural flashpoint, and now “The 1619 Project” is coming out as a book
12:01PM ( 4 hours ago )
SpaceX launches 53 Starlink satellites into orbit
SpaceX launched 53 Starlink satellites into orbit from Florida on Saturday
10:44AM ( 6 hours ago )
AP Business
Hong Kong authorities deny visa to Economist journalist
Hong Kong authorities have declined to renew a visa for a foreign journalist working for The Economist without any explanation
3:23AM ( 13 hours ago )
Rested negotiators hope to take climate talks over the line
Negotiators are streaming into the venue for the U.N. climate talks, hoping that a good night’s sleep will help them seal a deal that could credibly be said to boost the world’s efforts to tackle global warming
2:39AM ( 14 hours ago )
Out of time: Climate talks go past deadline over coal, cash
Going into overtime, negotiators at U.N. climate talks in Glasgow are still trying to find common ground on phasing out coal, when nations need to update their emission-cutting pledges and, especially, on money
5:23PM ( 23 hours ago )
AP Business - Economy
Environmentalists can continue with suit to protect whales
A federal court is allowing a team of environmental groups to continue with a lawsuit against the U.S. government
5:20PM ( 23 hours ago )
Johnson & Johnson to split into 2, aim for faster growth
Johnson & Johnson is splitting into two companies, separating the division that sells Band-Aids and Listerine from its medical device and prescription drug business
2:49PM ( 1 day ago )
The Latest: UK's Johnson urges approval of climate agreement
 British Prime Minister Boris Johnson says coming up with more money for countries at greatest risk from climate change is key to securing a deal at the United Nations’ COP26 conference in Glasgow
12:10PM ( 1 day ago )
AP Business - Industries
AstraZeneca to book modest profit from coronavirus vaccine
British-Swedish pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca says it will start to book a modest profit from its coronavirus vaccine as it moves away from the nonprofit model that it's operated so far during the pandemic
5:10AM ( 1 day ago )
Daily COVID-19 infections jump in Czech Republic, Slovakia
Coronavirus cases have soared to a new record high in Slovakia, with some hospitals having to move COVID-19 patients elsewhere in the country because they couldn’t take any more
11:51AM ( 3 days ago )
In Russia, 83% of COVID hospital beds are filled amid surge
Russian authorities say nearly 83% of hospital beds designated for COVID-19 patients are filled, as daily tallies of new infections and deaths remain at all-time highs
9:06AM ( 3 days ago )
AP Business - Health Care
Good COP, bad COP? Takeaways from the new UN climate deal
After two years of preparation and 13 days of tough talks, did negotiators at the U.N. climate meeting in Glasgow save the planet
4:46PM ( 12 minutes ago )
Young, Williams, No. 3 Alabama romp over New Mexico St 59-3
Bryce Young passed for 270 yards and five touchdowns, including three to Jameson Williams, and No. 3 Alabama beat New Mexico State 59-3
4:28PM ( 30 minutes ago )
McNamara, No. 9 Michigan rally past No. 23 Penn State 21-17
Cade McNamara threw a 47-yard touchdown pass to tight end Erick All with 3:29 left and No. 9 Michigan stayed in the Big Ten championship race, rallying past tricky No. 23 Penn State 21-17
4:15PM ( 43 minutes ago )
Packers' Rodgers activated, will play Sunday vs. Seahawks
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has been activated from the reserve/COVID-19 list
4:14PM ( 44 minutes ago )
No. 18 Baylor 27-14 win ends No. 4 Oklahoma 17-game streak
Gerry Bohanon threw a touchdown and ran for two more scores as 18th-ranked Baylor won 27-14 to end fourth-ranked Oklahoma's FBS-best 17-game winning streak
4:13PM ( 45 minutes ago )